Airport, Covid-19, Crisis, Latvia, Tourism, Transport

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Monday, 01.06.2020, 20:35

Not all airlines will resume work after travel restrictions lifted - Gauss

BC, Riga, 01.04.2020.Print version
Due to the travel restrictions introduced around the world to help battle the spread of Covid-19, there will be some airlines that will not resume their work when these restrictions are lifted, the CEO of Latvian airline airBaltic Martin Gauss told LETA.

"I think that airlines which have the state behind them will resume work. Of course, big and profitable companies like Ryanair and Wizzair will also continue to fly because they have enough money to survive the crisis," Gauss said.

He recalled that 40 years ago in Europe, almost all airlines were state owned and then began to be privatized one by one. Now, most likely, countries will re-engage with airlines in various ways and then sell the shares again.

"I think this will significantly change the landscape in the transportation market. At the same time, big players like Lufthansa could become much smaller because there will simply be no demand," said the airBaltic chief executive.

He said the president of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently predicted that the total impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the airline industry would be EUR 250 bn. In addition, this figure is likely to increase as the crisis is now beginning to develop rapidly in the US.

"We look at what other airlines in Europe are doing and what support they are getting. We see that Lufthansa, SAS, Finnair, AirFrance, British Airways will get some form of government support. Here at airBaltic we are capable of dealing with the crisis ourselves, but as the crisis continues, we will look at what support may become available. It may also be support from the European Union. It has not yet been decided. Both the Latvian state and our private shareholder have said they want us as to continue to operate as an airline," Gauss stressed.

As reported, in an effort to prevent Covid-19 from spreading further in Latvia, a state of emergency came into force on March 13, setting a number of tough restrictions. The state of emergency is in force until April 14. The emergency measures include a ban on all international passenger transportation by air, sea, roads and railway.

Latvian national airline airBaltic last year posted EUR 508.955 mln in turnover, up 23%, while the company's loss reached EUR 7.7 mln. 

The airline's primary shareholder is the Latvian state, which holds 80.05% of the stock, while Danish businessman Lars Thuesen holds around 20% through his fully-owned Aircraft Leasing 1.

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